How to Rotate the Screen on the iPod nano

Rainbow of iPod nanos

Thanks to the clip on the back of the 6th Generation iPod nano, it's a versatile device that can be easily attached to clothes, bags, watchbands, and more. Depending on how you clip the nano to things, you can end up with the screen that's oriented sideways or upside down, which makes it pretty hard to read.

Apple discontinued the iPod Nano on July 27, 2017.

Luckily, you can rotate the screen of the iPod nano to match how you're using it with one simple gesture.

How to Rotate the Screen of the 6th Gen. nano

To rotate the screen on the 6th Generation iPod nano, follow these steps:

  1. Take two fingers and holding them a bit apart (We find it's easiest to use your thumb and forefinger, but it's up to you).

  2. Place each finger on a corner of the nano's screen. You can choose opposite corners (for example, one finger at the top right corner of the screen and another finger at the bottom left corner, or vice versa) or you can choose corners on the same side (the top left and bottom left, for example).

  3. When you've done this, twist both fingers at the same time and in the same direction—clockwise or counter-clockwise. You'll see the image on the screen rotate. The screen will rotate 90 degrees as your fingers turn. If you want to rotate the screen more than 90 degrees, keep moving your fingers and rotating the image.

  4. Remove your fingers from the screen when it's oriented the way you want. That orientation will remain until you change it again.

Can You Rotate the Screen on Other iPod nano Models?

Since you can rotate the screen orientation on the 6th gen. iPod nano, you may be wondering if other models have this feature, too.

Sorry, but it's not possible to rotate the screens of other iPod nano models. There are two reasons for that: the lack of a touchscreen and the shape of the screens on other models.

On the 6th gen. model, you're able to rotate the display because it is a touchscreen. Without that, there would be no way to move the orientation of the screen. The 1st through 5th gen. nanos are all controlled using the clickwheel, which can only navigate onscreen menus and select items. It doesn't offer a way to perform more complex actions like rotating the screen.

But wait, you may be saying, "The 7th gen. model has a touchscreen. Why can't that one rotate?" That's due to the second reason: the shape of the screen. The 7th gen. iPod nano, like all the other nano models except the 3rd gen., has a rectangular screen and a user interface that's formatted to fit that shape. It would be pretty complex to take an interface designed for a screen that's tall and narrow and dynamically reorient it to fit a screen that's suddenly become wide and thin. Not only that, it probably wouldn't provide many benefits to the user. You'd see less on the screen and have to scroll and swipe more to do even basic tasks. When Apple thinks about these features, it always keeps benefit to the user as a priority. If there's no benefit to a feature, don't expect to see it implemented.

As noted, the 3rd gen. nano does have a square screen, but since it has a clickwheel and not a touchscreen, it can't be rotated either.

How Screen Rotation Works On iOS Devices

Apple devices that run the iOS—like the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad—all have screens that can be reoriented. The way this works is a little different than on the nano.

Those devices, all three, have accelerometers that allow the device to detect when it's been turned and automatically adjust the screen to match its new physical orientation. This is always automatic. The user of an iOS device can't rotate the screen by touching it like with the 6th gen. nano.